I was devastated and cried the whole way to the theatre. After the birth, I did not see my baby girl for 2 hours, and I feel that had a significant impact on my connection with her post-birth. We struggled a lot with feeding, and I bordered on Post Natal Depression. I knew if and when we had another baby, it was going to be a VBAC.
Fast forward seven months, and we found out we were pregnant again due to have another beautiful baby in December 2019. Now being married to a farmer, this was a bit of a surprise and not ideal timing given that is the busiest time of year with harvest. Nonetheless, we were stoked.
I armed myself with as much information as I could, determined as ever to achieve my VBAC. However, living in a small town, obstetricians' choices were limited, and my only option was to see the head OB of the hospital as he did my previous c-section. He was most definitely not pro-VBAC. He refused to discuss VBAC with me until later into my pregnancy, so I spoke with midwives who were always supportive.
I did not have gestational diabetes, but it became clear that this baby would be on the bigger side, which was then his ammunition against why I should not birth naturally. At one appointment, he told me he did not care how I felt; all he cared about was delivering a healthy mum and a healthy baby in theatre and that the midwives know nothing and should not be providing me with false information. I left in tears, absolutely destroyed.
My dreams of VBAC were slipping away. It got to about 36 weeks, the pointy end and I wanted some plans in place. He had originally reluctantly agreed to let me go to 40+3 as I sought support from another doctor, and they agreed we would do a stretch and sweep then see what happens.
However, at this appointment, he told me that he would not be doing that anymore as my baby was too big, so if I wanted to push ahead with VBAC, my baby would likely have shoulder dystocia and could die, and I would also be very sick. So I was agreeing to take all responsibility for anything that happened to my baby and me, and he would write this in his notes.
So I agreed to have the caesarean in fear that something horrible would happen to my baby, and how could I live with myself if that happened. In early December, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy Sully weighing in at 4.3kgs.
However, I knew our family was not complete, and the next time I was absolutely going to achieve my VBAC. But what he failed to tell me was that this would not be possible unless we travelled 3+ hours and birthed in the city, which with two small humans and a farmer husband would absolutely not be possible.
Then I came across a video on a VBAC support group of a beautiful woman birthing her baby herself VIA CAESAREAN. I was shook and knew 100% I was also going to achieve this.
Fast forward another seven months, and we were pregnant yet again with a baby due April 2021; what a surprise and such a delight. I was ready to fight for the healing birth I needed and deserved. I spoke to some midwife friends about any doctors they knew of who would offer this near us and spoke with a doctor in Ballarat who said he would be willing to support me to achieve this and had done it a couple of times before.
Throughout my pregnancy, I was informed every step of the way, and the choices were always mine, and they were always supported. We had originally planned to birth at the public hospital as we did not have private health, but the theatre manager did not support maternal assisted caesareans, so we made the choice to birth at the private hospital to have the birth I wanted and needed.
On the day of the birth, I was very nervous the thought of not being able to hold my husband's hands whilst having the spinal due to needing to be sterile was terrifying (not that I had been able to previously); however, I was in luck.
The anaesthetist I had on the day was the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met and adjusted his practices completely to ensure the experience was the best it could possibly be for me. He asked me to go over my previous births and any issues that arose to make sure they didn't happen again, and he spoke to my husband about his concerns or any questions he had.
He did the spinal in theatre (something he doesn't usually do) so that I could hold my husband's hands and then scrubbed me in straight after. He made sure I did not feel faint or unwell once the spinal had been done as this happened previously, and he spoke to me the entire way through, holding my head or hands and assuring me everything was going well.
Then when it was time, he guided my hands down to meet my baby.
I cannot explain how it feels to birth your own baby via caesarean. It was so overwhelming and empowering, everyone in the room telling me I had done an amazing job and what an achievement.
I felt whole and so supported. I finally got to have my beautiful baby girl Indalee straight after birth, and she stayed with me the whole time.
My husband said after he had listened to me talk about maternal assisted caesareans, but now he understood and that it was so amazing.
I will be forever grateful for the support team I had and will share my story about maternal assisted caesareans so that any mum wishing to can have a similar beautiful caesarean experience. It does not have to be scary; it can be really incredible.